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Tom Hanks in town working on ‘Ithaca,’ eating great food

COURTESY: Wendy Drogo

Tom Hanks on the left, and Tom Clark on the right. COURTESY: Wendy Drogo

Actor, producer and Captain Tom Jeffery Hanks was spotted dining in Richmond at Mamma ‘Zu on Monday night.

The Italian restaurant in Oregon Hill has long played host to visiting stars — and locals — who crave delicious, homemade meals.

Wendy Drogo, who works in Stafford County, snapped the picture of Tom Hanks speaking with her friend Tom Clark.

Clark said his friend Rachel was picking out a bottle of wine when she thought she recognized Hanks voice. He said Hanks was with a group of people in the back of the restaurant, with his back facing the door.

Clark, a drama teacher at Mountain View High School in Stafford County, stood up and introduced himself when Hanks walked out the front door.

“I explained most of us were a group of teachers out on the town and asked if he would brighten our drab lives just for a minute,” Clark recalled.

He said that Hanks turned to the table and said cordially “thank you for your service” and added that “high school is really where it starts.”

Clark was shocked to have this second encounter with Hanks, and reflected back on the first one when he ran into Hanks filming in Seattle.

“He was flanked by two security guards and I just said ‘Hi, Mr. Hanks,” Clark said, and added that he never dreamed he would run into him again.

Hanks also spoke with Neil Burton, the owner of Strangeways and the only non-school employee in the group, about beer before heading out.

There’s no word on how long he will be in town. Hanks has signed on to produce the World War II film “Ithaca” with Meg Ryan, in her directorial debut.

The movie is a coming-of-age story about a 14-year-old bike messenger taking care of his widowed mother and family while his brother is off fighting in World War II. It also stars Sam Shepard, Melanie Griffith, her son Jack Quaid and this beautiful farm where Virginia horse racing began.

Ryan has also been spotted at coffee shops and restaurants in both Petersburg and Richmond, and also featured working hard in Petersburg. 

Hanks was labeled the “only actor worthy of $20 million” by Entertainment Weekly in 2008.  He also recently signed on to produce a show based on the award-winning fantasy book “American Gods” written by Neil Gaiman.

Which makes him the greatest person ever, some say.

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